Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Thursday named former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey, known for sparking the debunked claim that the Affordable Care Act would create “death panels,” to his economic team.
McCaughey also helped defeat Hillary Clinton's healthcare proposal when Clinton was first lady in the 1990s by saying it would ban patients from paying doctors for services outside of their coverage. Her claims are frequently rated as untrue by fact-checking organizations and by journalists.
She is one of nine additions Trump is making to the team after receiving criticism for including no women in his original group of economic advisers.
McCaughey, who was lieutenant governor of New York from 1995 to 1998 during the first term of Gov. George Pataki, wrote the best-selling book Beating Obamacare and a sequel, Beating Obamacare 2014. She has also written a book about hospital-acquired infections. She founded the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths in 2003.
As the ACA was being debated, McCaughey latched onto a provision that would provide Medicare coverage for sessions with doctors to help patients lay out what services they would or would not want in the case of terminal illness or injury. She wrote in a New York Post column that the Obama administration “wants doctors to look beyond the needs of their patients and consider social justice, such as whether the money could be better spent on somebody else."
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin used those ideas to launch the notion that the ACA included “death panels” that would “pull the plug on Grandma.” This was eventually dubbed the Lie of the Year by PolitiFact.
More recently, McCaughey has criticized Clinton's proposal to add a public option to Medicare that would allow people 55 and older to buy into the program and has accused President Barack Obama of “dismantling Medicare” with payment reforms.
McCaughey was also named to Modern Healthcare's 2009 ranking of the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare.